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Jump Back in Time Western Expansion & Reform (1829-1859)
 
Field Telegraph Station, vicinity of Charles City Court House, Wilcox's Landing, Virginia.
Field Telegraph Station in Virginia in 1864

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Samuel F.B. Morse Sent the First Telegraphic Message
May 24, 1844

Western Union completed the first transcontinental telegraph line in 1861, dooming the Pony Express, but aiding forces in the Civil War. Mobile telegraph stations, like this one with hastily strung wires, connected scattered military units. President Lincoln kept up with events of the war through frequent dispatches from General George McClellan. One Confederate attack failed when soldiers became tangled up in Union telegraph wires strung from tree stump to tree stump. Morse probably never expected telegraph wires to be a booby-trap!

A generation or two ago, people would send telegrams to announce important news such as a new birth in the family. Ask your family if they have ever sent a telegram.

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